Monday, February 25, 2013

Heuristic Evaluation

This week, I had the pleasure of meeting up with the author of Steve's Mobile Blog to exchange evaluations of each other's prototypes. According to the assignment, we were to assess the prototypes based on ten categories, as outlined by Scott Klemmer in his class on Human-Computer Interaction, which you can find here. Additionally, for each issue discovered, a severity rating was to be assigned in-accordance-with standards set forth by the Nielsen Norman Group. After sitting with Steve, I found the following potential issues with his prototype:

I think the idea of drawing the list of available locations for review from places where they have already "checked-in" severely limits the user. Supposing the user does not use the "check-in" feature available in some other apps, this would then be rendered useless for the individual. The flexibility and efficiency category is thus violated. Since the app will still function without changing this, I gave a severity rating of 1.

There were multiple screens in which there was no way to go back to a previous screen. Unfortunately, users often make mistakes. In order to allow better user control and freedom, I recommend adding functionality to return to the menu and/or previous screens. While this will not cause the app to break, it can leave a user quite frustrated at the inability to quickly access the desired functionality. Therefore, I gave this a severity rating of 4.

I encountered some confusing functionality when landing on the "location selection" page. Swiping left was supposed to give one option, while swiping right presented a different option. In order to minimize the learning curve and increase recognition over recall, I recommend changing to use a single swipe to either revel buttons with the desired options or reveal a deeper level with multiple options. Again, this would not break the app, and although it has a steeper learning curve, it is not going to prevent users from accessing all features. The severity rating for this issue is 2.

Finally, I recommend a complete revamping of the "rating" page in pursuit of an aesthetic and minimalist design. I have broken this down into several categories:

  • The existence of both a "title" and a "comment" field seems extraneous. The goal of the app is to allow quick reviews, but having multiple editable text fields, even if they are not required fields, causes the user to think they must fill out the form completely before submission. I recommend reducing this to a single editable text field for comments.
  • In order to streamline the process, I would also allow for rating in categories, such as "cleanliness," "service," etc. That would allow a single tap to imply commentary, thus reducing the amount of time spent typing in the text field.
These changes are also merely cosmetic issues, thus rendering a severity rating of 1.

Overall, I think Steve has a great design, and I look forward to seeing the final product!


  1. Great work finding that blog: And overall another great blog post, very pleased to see your Nielsen based analysis. However I had been hoping to see a video. Also, did Steve only have a single prototype?

  2. Would have provided a video if my phone had that capability :(

    Yes, there was only the single prototype this time. His app looks like it will be quite extensive!